'Race' Relations: Pinewood Derby is still the wheel deal for family, community ties

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealPinewood Derby participants from Boy Scout Pack 341 watch a race during the annual Carson City event at The Home Depot on Saturday morning.

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealPinewood Derby participants from Boy Scout Pack 341 watch a race during the annual Carson City event at The Home Depot on Saturday morning.

Six-year-old Cody Seay was quite modest Saturday morning about winning a trophy for Best Paint Job on his Pinewood Derby car - Cody's Lightning Bolt.

"The hardest part was getting straight lines, so my dad used Scotch tape to tape it off, and I did all the painting," he said.

Cody, from Den 7, was at Boy Scout Pack 341's annual day-long Pinewood Derby at Home Depot in north Carson City, where more than 60 Tiger and Wolf Scouts competed for top speeds and other honors using cars they carved, painted and outfitted from a plain block of pine.

Dave Seay, Cody's grandfather, was there to support his grandson during the race, and had strong feelings about the derby.

"That's the best part - father and son working together," Seay said. "That's what Scouting is all about, and his mother is the den mother."

Eight-year-old Noah Rodriguez from Den 8 took second place this year with his car Speedy Dog - an improvement over last year's second place - and he attributes his success to the wheels.

"I think it's the way the wheels are pushed in," he said. "It's fun getting your trophy."

Noah also was honored for Most Original with his gold car trimmed in blue and red.

"I think it's cool," he said.

And 8-year-old Vincent Ferretti from Den 10 took home first place for his silver car with flames on the sides, Flamin' Hot Humvee. He also improved over his second place finish of the previous year.

"It's fun to build, and I thought of the name myself," Vincent said.

Vincent's dad, Michael Ferretti, had his own opinion about the victory.

"It was the flames that pushed it to victory," Ferretti said with a big grin.

Later in the afternoon, racing was devoted to Webelos and Bears who brought out another 30 or so cars to compete.

The Pinewood Derby dates back to the first race in 1953, said Dan Bowler, cub master for Cub Scout Pack 341 in Carson City.

Saturday's winning racers took home custom trophies made by Bill Nixon, with all materials donated by Home Depot, he said.

The 48-foot aluminum track with a wood base for greater stability was set up early last week at Home Depot, which has donated the space to the group for the past three years.

"We like to test the track and logistics ahead of time, so Home Depot lets us set up Tuesday. They also let us set up a workshop with power tools for three weeks, and we weighed all the cars in last night," Bowler said.

"This is the nicest track in Northern Nevada. It was made by former leaders," he said.

The track also features laser timers, flashing lights and a starting mechanism designed by a member of the pack leadership committee, engineer Ben Kahue.

Bowler, who grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout before his family moved back to the United States in the 1980s.

He has been affiliated with Pack 341 since 2006, where his two sons, 13-year-old Nick and 11-year-old Luke, are both accomplished racers.

Nick won the Council Derby in Reno in 2007, and Luke won it in Fallon in 2010.

"That's almost unheard of in one family," Bowler said, proudly.

But that's not why he's involved.

"What I like about Scouting is that it brings families and communities together," he said.


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